How To Make the Most of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Last week I announced the 2018 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, explained a little more about it, and gave you all a preview of some of the new fall trends you’ll be seeing later this week if you shop the #NSale. (Yes, a sale with its own hashtag…you KNOW it’s a doozie!)

Today I want to talk a little more about preparing for this legendary sale.

I know, it hasn’t even started yet, and I’m beating a dead horse, but if you plan to shop when it opens to the public on Thursday, you really should do some prep work. I’m not being dramatic. It’s a HUGE sale, and to go in without a plan can be overwhelming, and you may miss out on some really good deals because some things do sell out the first day. #nojoke

If you’re not familiar with how the sale works, take a look at my preview post before reading this one. It has a lot more about why this sale is different than any other along with the dates and all that jazz.

It is important to understand that this is NOT a summer clearance sale. Most of the products included in the Anniversary Sale are brand new 2018 fall and late summer styles that are not in the store yet. There will be a mix of wear now and later pieces, so it’s not all fall, but it is almost all new.

Also, it is not a site-wide sale. Not everything in the store will go on sale. The Anniversary Sale merchandise will will be portioned off in tents, and during the Early Access period (from July 12-19), only Nordstrom card holders will be allowed to shop. You may be able to walk in and out of the #NSale sections, but you will not be allowed to purchase anything from those areas without a Nordstrom card. The sale opens to the public on July 20.

There will be some perennial favorites that go on sale — Barefoot Dreams cardigans, Natori underwear, Wacoal bras… to name a few. But almost everything is brand new for the sale. For example, they almost always introduce a new style of Vince sneakers, Stuart Weitzman boots, Tory Burch handbags, Rag & Bone booties, AG jeans, Frye boots, Burberry jackets, and so much more… those are only some iconic pieces that are almost always included. Those are also the brands that usually sell out first.

It’s not all high end, though. Sam Edelman, Vince Camuto, Leith, R Minkoff, and many other popular mid-price brands are always represented in this sale.

Also, nothing will be available on the website before the sale opens for Early Access on Thursday morning, so that means there is no way to put things in your cart before the sale starts. You have to be up and at ’em when the sale opens to get the best deals — probably around 3AM EST.

And yes, I set my alarm for 2:50 — that gives me just enough time to brush my teeth, get a cup of coffee, say a prayer that we don’t crash the Nordstrom website (we did last year!), and make sure my internet connection is working. If not, I have a hotspot on my phone for backup.

Yes, I take this sale verrrrrry seriously. Ha!

Before I tell you how to make the most of the #NSale, let me explain why I promote Nordstrom so much on the blog, because I get asked this question from time to time.


No, they don’t send me tons of free stuff to shill. (I wish!) 

For one thing, I’ve been a fan of Nordstrom long before I was a fashion blogger, and I’ve been a cardholder for years.

I do link to Nordstrom with affiliate links and regularly partner with them on sponsored posts, but I use affiliate links for all the retailers I link to, and I partner with many different brands on sponsored posts, so that’s not why Nordstrom gets so much airtime on here. In fact, they aren’t even my highest paying affiliate partner. #sadbuttrue

Simply put, Nordstrom’s customer service is bar none, and they offer more variety than any other retailer.

Nordstrom has a department for almost anything you could want — clothes, shoes, handbags, accessories, lingerie, beauty products, gifts, and home. They also have a wide range of price points to offer. While Nordstrom has the reputation for being an upscale department store, and they certainly carry all the major high end brands, they also carry many brands that are in a budget-friendly price range AND they run great sales on a regular basis.

Then there is their free shipping and free returns, making it a risk-free shopping experience. Also, did you know that Nordstrom allows up to 6 months to return their merchandise? That gives you plenty of time to hem and haw, make up your mind, and then procrastinate getting your returns to the post office . . . not that I’d know anything about that!

Nordstrom also does alterations, and if you are a cardholder, you can get a discount or even get them for free, depending on your rewards level.

Plus, price matching!!! Often their prices are already adjusted for the price match, but if you see a product Nordstrom sells on sale for less elsewhere and it’s not already marked down accordingly, all you have to do is call or hop on their live chat, and they will adjust your price immediately. You simply cannot beat their customer service.

I hope that answers some of your questions, if you’ve been wondering why I promote Nordstrom so heavily. Now let’s discuss how to make the most of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

Tips for Shopping the #NSale

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty: what to do to prep for the Anniversary Sale.

#1. Get the card. Okay, let me first say that I am VERY uncomfortable telling people to get a credit card. Opening a credit card is a personal decision, and only you know if it is wise for you or not. I’m not one to hold a lot of cards, personally, but I use my Nordstrom Visa as my primary credit card and charge other purchases as well as my Nordstrom shopping. (That’s largely why I’m a Level 4 cardholder — it’s not just Nordstrom purchases getting me to that point, holy mercy! LOL!!!)

Also, I do NOT get any perks or kick-backs for telling you to get a card. I am simply the messenger. The fact is, if you want to shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale during Early Access, you will need a Nordstrom card, and it is not too late to get one. I believe they no longer have a debit option, but you can get a store card or a Visa. Also, one of the perks is you get a $40 bonus Note (that is $40 to spend at Nordstrom) when you make any purchase with us on your new card the day you’re approved.

#2. Make a list. If you have access to your fall/winter clothes, go through them and make a list of what you need to replace and what you want to add.

Also remember that all departments in the store participate in the Anniversary Sale, including beauty, home, mens, and kids stuff too… it’s a GREAT time to start your Christmas shopping. #dontshootthemessenger

#3. Set a budget. Definitely go in with some idea of what you want to spend, but be prepared to spend a little more than your budget because you will likely return some things. Of course, I would never advocate charging more than you can pay off when the bill comes, but because things do sell out fast, I’d rather grab anything I think I may want, and then decide later what to keep and what to return.

#4. If in doubt, buy and return. It’s a good idea to order multiple sizes if you’re at all unsure because if you pick one, it doesn’t fit, and you go back to order the other size, it may well be gone. Likewise, if you are unsure about something, grab it and decide later whether to keep or return. As long as you know you can be disciplined about it, that’s a good practice for this sale.

Nordstrom has a very generous return policy, so you can hem and haw a little bit, but I do encourage you to be considerate to the rest of us, and try to get your returns back before the sale ends so someone else can purchase them before the prices go back up.

#5. Shop online first, then go to the store a few days later. I promise you, some of the most popular items will sell out within the first few hours of the sale and may never be restocked. It’s best to get up early, get online, and grab the things you REALLY want. The store will be crazytown, anyway, plus there is way more inventory online than in most stores.

TIP: You can always select the Store Pickup option when you checkout, if you want to get your items the same day.

So get up early, check my blog (of course!) and do your primary shopping online, and then if you want to go to the store and peruse the sale, I advise going on day 3 or 4, once the crazy has settled down some. There will still be a lot left — especially in other departments (the women’s dept is by far the most popular) and you can still find some good deals on the more obscure items, but you avoid the madhouse that is the first day of the sale.

#6. Shop investment pieces first. While you can definitely find plenty of cute tops and things for under $50, you are better off using this sale as an opportunity to score those bigger investment pieces that rarely go on sale. The lower priced items are more likely to go on sale again later, and they’re just not as good of a deal because you aren’t saving as much overall. That said, they may not be available later, so if you love something, grab it.

I always start in shoes, then go to handbags, then to premium denim and then to the rest of the clothes. I do this for a few reasons. Shoes and boots sell out first, but I also like to have a few styles in the dressing room with me to wear with the clothes I’m trying on. It’s no fun trying on fall clothes with sandals, and when it comes to jeans, I want to know how they’re going to fit with the boots I may be wearing with them this fall.

I realize if you’re shopping online, the last part does not apply, but it’s still smart to start with the things that tend to sell out first — namely boots/shoes, handbags, and premium denim.

#7. Don’t leave things sitting in your cart. If you leave things sitting in your cart while you shop around, they may sell out. I like to get the top things on my list ordered within the first hour. Then I can go back through the site, take my time, add a few more, and check out again. I usually place a half dozen orders on the first day of the sale, lol!!!

Obviously, this is my job, and I order more than most people. But if you have a few big items on your list, my best advice is to buy them, checkout, and then go back in and browse.

#8. Check back often. If some things you want sell out, check back often, and check my blog too because I’ll try to let y’all know when popular items are restocked. In recent years, they haven’t been fully restocking when the sale opens to the public like they used to do, but when people make returns, you will see certain sizes and colors pop back up on the site, so it pays to check back frequently.

Last year I stalked those OTK Stuart Weitzman boots like it was my job, and I finally snagged a pair in my size towards the end of the sale. #score

I’m sure there’s more, but that covers the bases.

I will be sharing some dressing room selfies on my Insta Story tomorrow, as I’m shopping in store, but I won’t have links as those products won’t be online until Thursday.

I’ll post my Guide to the #NSale here on the blog as early as I can possibly get my act together on Thursday morning, and then I will update throughout the morning as I make additions and sizing notes, etc.

I’ll also be posting alerts to my Facebook Page throughout the day. Speaking of which…

Join me for a Facebook Live Chat TODAY at 1PM EST!

Yes, I’m bringing back my Facebook Lives!!! I will not be consistent for a while, but I thought today would be a great day to do a Live Chat because we can talk all things Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

As usual, I will save the chat so if you can’t make it live, you can watch it later. If you have any questions you’d like me to answer during the chat, you can email me or leave a comment on this post. Be sure to go to my Facebook Page, not my personal profile, to find the live chat.


I also want to announce the giveaway winner for the $300 Nordstrom e-Gift Card. Please know that I appreciate every single one of you. I wish I could give a gift card to everyone, but I have kids to put through college and a new house to purchase, SO I could only pick one winner.

And the winner is… Sherri E Robbins! Sherri, I hope you’re checking this post! Email me, or comment on this post to claim your prize!!! I want to get your gift card to you right away so you can shop on Thursday if you wish.

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22 Responses

  1. I am sooo excited!!!I never win anything lol! I am just about to start a new job in August. The timing could not have been any better! Thank you Jolynn!

  2. So excited for the sale…….I scored a Madewell Utility jacket last year and it’s probably one of my favorite items of clothing. Also, just wanted to say Nordstrom does offer a debit card (for those not wanting a credit card) and you get the early access with that and your triple points day.

  3. While I don’t plan to hit the sale as fiercely as the past few years, I definitely have a short list of must haves. There is an expanded list of sale items floating around online, so I’ve been able to leisurely make my list over the past week. I’m hoping I can hop on, find everything easily, and check out before the website crashes, lol. Your strategy to grab the must haves immediately worked perfectly for me last year. I had no trouble getting what I wanted 😉

  4. I think I follow all of your same practices. This sale gives me anxiety…LOL Can’t wait to see what they have though. (btw…you’ve got August 20 instead of July as the date the sale goes public in the paragraph about the sale not being site wide😉) You’re making so much progress at the new house. It’s going to look brand new. YIPPEE!!!

  5. I made my list yesterday of a few definite things I need to purchase. I am hoping to go through my denim to see what fits and the styles I have – but it’s not looking good to finish by Thursday am lol. 

    I truly appreciate all the effort you put into your posts! I love your tips for shopping the sale wisely. 

  6. Very informative post!  Since our WiFi connection acts up, making it challenging to participate in your live chats, I am wondering if, based on your past experience, you foresee the Thread & Supply Brandon Fleece Jacket selling out quickly.  If so, I will set my alarm to wake up just to order it, then go back to sleep.  Thank you!

      1. Oh boy!  Now I have to decide if that is an item worth waking up for.  Thanks for the honesty!

  7. I have a question. Do boots and / or booties only work with SKINNY jeans?

    Also, hoping you can do a splurge, spend, save post like last year’s sale!

  8. Great NSALE information as always.  Would you please remember to post your live on your blog Wed. like you always did for us who don’t have facebook?  Thanks so much.  Can’t wait to see what you grab on your early access. 

  9. Maybe you can’t help with the following thing but I figure there’s no harm in asking: I am hoping to find a otk boot with a 23 or even 24 inch shaft. Is there a possibility this type of boot cold be included in your recommendations on what to buy during the sale?

  10. Not nsale related, but you did say we could ask anything. I’m looking to replace 16 year old carpet and was just wondering what type you chose for your new home. I don’t have any idea what’s current. 

    1. I don’t think what we chose is current, actually. I am having MILD pangs of regret, but it looks nice, so it will be fine. The trend seems to be towards a lower pile, tone-on-tone neutral color. We did a thicker pile but stuck with a light neutral off-white with some mild variation of color when you get close, but it reads off-white when you see it from eye level.

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